Locked Inside

lockedout

There is much to learn about operating an RV, especially what to do when things go wrong.

For the first time in my life, I was locked inside a motorcoach.

Lorraine and I were travelling down to the Hershey RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. On our way, we stopped at the Flying J in New Milford, Pennsylvania to top up our fuel. The stop turned out to be a little more dramatic than we had expected.

We pulled up to the lanes that are dedicated for RVs. I shut down the coach in preparation for fueling. Lorraine went to the door to exit the coach and the door handle would not open the door.

Odd. Was it still locked?

No.

Odd. Was the deadbolt engaged?

No.

For the next 10 minutes or so, we went back and forth. Locking and unlocking the door. Manually and with the keyless entry system. Manually and with the dashboard entry lock control switch. Nothing worked. We could not get ourselves out of the coach.

We called Newmar.

We were on hold with them for about 15 minutes or so.

They told me that they had never heard of something like this happening before.

I told them that it has happened before.

It took them a few minutes to find someone who might be able to troubleshoot the problem.

I was told to try pulling the door hard and then moving the lock and unlock button up and down.

The lock assembly looks like this:

doorlocked

I pulled as hard as I could and I moved that lock up and down. I repeated this action roughly a dozen times until it became apparent that the door was not going to open this way.

I was then told to find someone who might be able to push the door from the outside.

Okay. Here we were in a Flying J without anyone nearby. We were the only RV in the RV section. Everyone else was about 100 feet or so away. How would we get their attention?

Or, do we try to use the escape window? Or exit out the rear bath door?

Lorraine went to the back of the coach, opened the bathroom door and called out for help.

A couple of men wandered over to give a hand. They both pushed hard against the door from the outside while I was pulling the door from the inside and, at some point, and I am still not certain how it happened, the door opened.

Newmar could not offer a reason for the problem. All they did say was that the door has a two latch position mechanism. We knew that from experience. If we closed the door using a normal to light pressure, the wind noise would be very pronounced in the cab while the coach was in motion. A really firm pressure engages a second latch and tightly seals the door. No wind noise.

Did we use too much pressure to close the door?

I have no idea.

We were worried about being locked out again?

Absolutely.

I’ve jumped on the IRV2 Newmar Owner’s Corner to ask for some help. I’d like to know whether there is anything we could do to prevent this from happening again.

This little adventure took about an hour from when we stopped the coach to when we could get out the door. Once we were able to fuel the coach, we were finally ready to go again.

All part of the ownership experience.

Update: it turns out that the resolution is pretty simple and I am not sure why Newmar did not point this out when we called them. One of the forum members gave us this insight, unlock the deadbolt and door lock BEFORE you pull up on the handle. Otherwise you may get stuck. I checked with Lorraine and she cannot remember if she unlocked the door before pulling up on the handle. She has tried to open the door while it was still locked several times before so it probably was the cause of getting locked in. One more item to add to the checklist. When exiting the coach, always make sure the door has been unlocked before pulling up on the handle.

Castaway Release 2.0

ECMUpdate

Our yellow engine warning light has disappeared. Why? Because the coach needed a software update. Turns out our engine was two releases backdated. A new software patch resolved the isolated engine fault.

Our first shakedown trip identified a few minor issues although one was costly — a new tire. The engine control module software update was performed under warranty at no cost.

We have made it to the U.S. Border and we are staying overnight at the Port Huron KOA. We will be back home tomorrow.

Two Tired

Tire1

Well, I hope the second new tire will be covered under warranty otherwise it will be an expensive first long trip with the Castaway.

There was no doubt that parts of the I-75 in Michigan were in horrible condition and it could well have been a pothole that caused the sidewall bulge. Whatever the cause, we had no choice but to get the tire replaced.

Trying to get the tire replaced proved challenging. Lots of phone calls between ourselves, our dealer, Newmar, Michelin, assorted Michelin dealers in Michigan and, finally, our roadside assistance service, Coach-Net. Coach-Net got the job done and covered the cost of sending a repair truck right to our campsite.

With a tire on the back of the truck, Steve, our tire repair guy, got ready to work. First, all of the power tools.

Tire2

His first task was to position the tire jack. We did not have to pull our own jacks up and we did not have to bring our slides in. Nor did we have to unhook our services.

Tire3

Steve made the job look easy, way too easy. That tire and wheel weighs in excess of 100 pounds or more.

Tire4

For sure we would not get very far with this setup.

Tire5

Steve deflated and then removed the original tire from the wheel and mounted the new tire on the wheel all within about 10 minutes. He was even thoughtful enough to inflate the new tire.

Tire6

Then it was simply a matter of repositioning the wheel and making it secure.

Tire7

And now we have a coach that we can drive again. I sure hope we don’t have another event on the I-75 going home. I may complain from time to time about the highways in Ontario but they are as smooth as glass when compared to sections of the I-75 in Michigan.

Tire8

With the tire replaced, we can begin our journey back home. Bright and early tomorrow morning. Our first stop will be the Cummins dealer in Saginaw to get a software update for our Engine Control Module. From there, we will stopover at the Port Huron KOA before making our way home on Wednesday.